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ASUNCION — Pope Francis appealed to world leaders on Saturday to seek a new economic model to help the poor, and to shun policies that "sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit."
It was the second time during his trip to South America that Francis, the first pope from the region, used a major speech to excoriate unbridled capitalism and champion the rights of the poor.
In Bolivia last Thursday, he urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.
"Putting bread on the table, putting a roof over the heads of one's children, giving them health and an education, these are essential for human dignity," he said.
He urged politicians and business leaders "not to yield to an economic model which is idolatrous, which needs to sacrifice human lives on the altar of money and profit."
He said those charged with promoting economic development must ensure it had "a human face" and he blasted "the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose".
"Corruption is the plague, it's the gangrene of society," he added during a heavily improvised speech at the rally, attended by Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes.